House Martins

  • Harming one species to save another does seem hypocritical to me and the weird thing is we only value what is scarce... so once we harm one species to the point of decline we then put everything into saving it, which normally means harming another (ravens vs waders). Conservation is a complex and controversial subject!

    Back to the house martins, the strangest thing is now the sparrows have harassed them off the nest they don't appear to be using it. I'm baffled, but nature has it's ways! I could be wrong, perhaps there's a female sparrow incubating in there already but I haven't seen any activity. I would hate to interrupt a bird mid-way through her clutch so won't interfere just now. They are lovely birds to have around too, and who am I to decide anyway! I'll give it some consideration for next year, how best to help the HMs. The idea is to help struggling species, not necessary hinder thriving ones..

    Really appreciate both of your thoughts and advice- thanks.
  • In reply to Mari:

    You wrote that as if you believe you will get a choice next year.

    In 7 years, house sparrows have never, never ever, used a newly won house Martin nest on this house. The one they used last year and this is artificial (suitable.....referred to in last year's thread). They didn't take over it. They just got in it in Feb that year and didn't get out of it til three broods were raised.

    To correct you. Choosing one species over another is inaccurate. Stopping one species eliminating another is accurate. Doing so by keeping one species away from another's nests is not "hindering" a species therefore not hypocracy.
  • Have you got any HM's breeding at all this year Robbo? I must say numbers all over my area seem to be much lower this year.

    The poor Swallows seem to have disappeared, although hardly surprising when so many in the hamlet have destroyed nests or prevented nesting. I woud love swallows but the box design we put up on the field side of the garage hasn't attracted any.

    Do either of you (Mari and Robbo) get swallows nesting?.
  • Currently got two nests incubating, and two former nests attempting to be rebuilt. There are now more interested martins than existing nests. I've not been able to watch them much in last few days, but the rebuilding seems very slow suggesting interference. By my reckoning, there are more martins here than just about every year I've been here. However, I've noticed less swallows in the area, and only a group of 3 swifts. A few years ago, there was a viable village community of swifts, incl one pair nesting in a box on our house. Lost to sparrows getting there first, despite blocking the entrance up during Winter and early Spring.

    There was a swallow showing limited interest the last year we had swifts. I remember that as it got my hopes up of having all 3 species on the same house! But, no, no swallows nest here, and there is definitely less of them about here this year. Unlike the martins, there was no obvious late arrivals.
  • Bumped as another example of house martins being eradicated by house sparrows.

    More examples are here and here.